Family, Family Travel, Florida, Reviews, Travel, Travel Reviews, Universal Studios

Complete Guide For Navigating Universal Orlando Resort

Thanks to TripAdvisor I was able to check another item off of my Bucket List when I had the opportunity to spend the day at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando Florida and we’ve put together our complete guide for navigating the Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Most people already know that when it comes to finding reviews and information on travel destinations, TripAdvisor is your one-stop place for any and all information that you might need but one of my favorite ways to use TripAdvisor is to book my tickets for those items I am looking to cross off my Bucket List so whether I’m looking for suggestions as to what to do or as in this case, I already knew exactly where I wanted to go next in my travels as a TripAdvisor Ambassador, with the swipe of my phone and my TripAdvisor app, I was quickly and easily able to book my visit to Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

. Did you know that TripAdvisor is the world’s largest provider of tours, activities, and attractions, with more than 56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide?

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

TripAdvisor Attractions offers something for every kind of traveler. Book everything from walking tours, skip-the-line access and theatre tickets to hot air balloon safaris and Everest base camp treks and yes, even tickets to the Universal Orlando Resort with a wide variety of ticket options that allowed me to quickly find the one that was perfect for me. I had been to Universal Hollywood on many occasions, but with all of my visits to Florida, I had yet to visit its counterpart in Florida but now that I’ve gotten a first-hand look at all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando and learned a more about this wondrous world where movies and books combine into a theme park like no other, I can’t wait to go back again because once is definitely not enough to take in all there is to see and do.  Here are just a few of the things that you should know before you go:

Universal Orlando Resort Is More Than Just A One Day Visit

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

While you can visit Universal Orlando in just one day, my recommendation is to allow for at least 2 if not 3 days to take it all in. Universal Orlando is actually compromised of three distinct theme parks along with Universal CityWalk, it’s free shopping and dining district located adjacent to the theme parks. Making up the area known as Universal Orlando Resort are:

  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Universal’s Volcano Bay

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is located in both Universal Studios (Diagon Alley) and Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade) and if you’re undecided as to whether to buy a Park-to-Park tickets or not, the only way you can ride the Hogwarts Express is with the Park-to-Park ticket and it is so worth it. Park-to-Park ticket, it allows you to ride the Hogwarts Express between Hogsmeade Station (Islands of Adventure) to King’s Cross Station in London (Universal Studios) unlimited times in either direction and it is the easiest way to travel from one park to the other.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

That plus you will absolutely want to ride the Hogwarts Express in both directions because, without spoiling the fun, it is a totally different experience going from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley, and vice versa so you’ll want to do both. I highly recommend getting the  3-Park 3-Day ticket which will all you to take a day at  Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios and then cap it all off with a relaxing day at Volcano Bay, one of the best water park experiences ever.

Maximize Your Visit With The Express Pass 

[KGVID]http://www.disneygals.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Universal-Orlando-Resort.mp4[/KGVID]

 

If you’re short on time, or just want to make the most of your visit to Universal Orlando, then the Universal Express Pass is just the ticket you need. Unlike other parks which offer a Fast Pass system, this is an add-on ticket that will help you to maximize your time during your visit, especially if you only have one day to spend there. There is a wide variety of Universal Express Pass options, with one being just right for you and your family.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

  • Universal Express Pass – Skip the regular line one time per ride at participating rides and attractions each day that your pass is valid.
  • Universal Unlimited Express Pass – Skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times at participating rides and attractions.
  • Single Park Universal Express – You buy one of these Add-On passes only for either Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay.
  • 2-Park Universal Express – use at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
  • 2-Park Park-To-Park + Express Unlimited – admission to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, plus Universal Express Unlimited access.
  • 3-Park Park-To-Park + Express Unlimited – admission to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay, plus Universal Express Unlimited access.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Each of the parks that make up the Universal Orlando Resort are unique in their own special way and offer something for everyone in the family so whether you are seeking to discover movies being brought to life or the thrill of stepping into the pages of your favorite book, there is something for every member of the family from young to young at heart waiting for them at Universal Orlando.

Your Guide To Where To Find It At Universal Orlando Resort:

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

The Movies Come To Life At Universal Studios Florida

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting an insider’s look into the word of movie making or have dreamed of being a part of the cinematic universe, Universal Studios Florida is the park for you. With surprises around every corner, here you’ll find your heroes bursting through the screen and suddenly you’re the star of the story.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

At Universal Studios Florida, you’ll dodge evil villains,  defend the earth and yes even face a fire-breathing dragon. Universal Studios Orlando allows you to wander into animated worlds where characters you love are suddenly right beside you. Here you’ll go beyond the screen, behind the scenes and jump into the action of your favorite films at the world’s premier movie and TV based theme park. Here you’ll be able to explore the backlots of Hollywood in Production Central, wander through New York City and San Francisco, enter Londo and discover Diagon Alley and even hang out in Springfield with the Simpsons and who wouldn’t want to play in Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. At Universal Studios Florida, you’re invited to “ride the movies” including:

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • Revenge of the Mummy™
  • Shrek 4-D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Hogwarts™ Express: King’s Cross Station

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

In addition, there’s a wide array of quick and full-service restaurants offer everything from snacks like churros, soft pretzels, ice cream, and soda, to elegant gourmet cuisine and entertainment and shows that invite you to visit a bank run by goblins, play midway games with your favorite animated characters, and watch epic cinematic moments projected onto waterfalls at a dazzling live show on the Lagoon, all of this and more is waiting just for you at Universal Studios Florida.

Hold On! The Thrills Just Got Real At Universal’s Islands Of Adventure

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

If you’ve ever wanted to step into the pages of your favorite storybook and see it come to life, the Universal’s Islands of Adventures is just what you’ve been seeking and it’s easy to see why it was just voted as the number one theme park in the world by TripAdvisor.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Prepare for a place where superheroes, beasts, and magical creatures stand before you. At Universal’s Islands of Adventures, you’re entering lands where everything is real.  Here you can explore a secret school of witchcraft and wizardry, and then fly high above the city streets with a famous web-slinger.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

At Islands of Adventures, you never know when a  hungry dinosaur might pop out and around the next bend come to face the most colossal ape ever to walk the earth and enter a world like no other at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Let the adventures begin because at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, hold on tight and get ready to experience the thrill in a whole new way.Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

From the magical world of Dr. Seuss to where superheroes, beasts, and magical creatures stand before you, come step into the pages of a good book and see what happens when it’s brought to life. Among the things not to miss at Islands of Adventures are:

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

  • Hogwarts Express Hogsmeade Station
  • Hogwarts Express
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

At Universal’s Islands of Adventures, the lands awaiting exploration are as wide as the imagination. Here you can wander from Jurassic Park, then stroll through Marvel Super Hero Island, visit the mysterious Skull Island and trek through the Lost Continent, laugh in Toon Lagoon and rhyme your way through Seuss Landing and then step foot into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

With Universal thrills throughout, this totally immersive area has fun for everyone in the family from the young to the young at heart. Where else could you have an encounter with a Raptor, followed by a meal with your favorite storybook characters from the world of Seuss, listen to the melodic stylings of the Frog Choir, and then witness the nighttime lights of Hogwarts Castle illuminate the night sky?

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

All all this and more await you at Universal’s Islands of Adventures, where you and your family can experience the thrills and chills of your most beloved classics as they are brought to life.

Relax And Swim The Day Away At Volcano Bay

universal-orlando-volcano-bay Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Volcano Bay™ is a theme park like no other. At Volcano Bay, you can do everything or nothing at all at this all-new water theme park, where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. The best part is there are never ever any lines for anything thanks to the TapuTapu which is a wearable that lets you hold your place in the ride lines so you don’t have to and also reveals wondrous surprises with just a wave of your wrist. It’s a tropical paradise just steps away from everything Universal Orlando Resort has to offer and it’s the perfect way to kick back, unwind and enjoy a day of waterslide perfection where relaxation is king.

universal-orlando-volcano-bay Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

At Volcano Bay, you can have all the fun without ever having to wait in a line because all of the lines are virtual. With your TapuTapu wearable device, you can grab a ride time with the tap of a finger and then float, swim, splash, eat, shop or just relax. Your TapuTapu alerts you when it’s time to ride. At Volcano Bay, you’ll be sure to find something for everyone in the family whether it’s spending the day at the beach, enjoying a float down the Winding River and the thrill of the splash and a special to area specially created for the little ones in your life.  Attractions at Volcano Bay include:

universal-orlando-volcano-bay Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

  • Waturi Beach
  • The Reef
  • Kopiko Wai Winding River
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge
  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster
  • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
  • Honu of the Honu Ika Moana
  • ika Moana of the Honu Ika Moana
  • TeAwa The Fearless River
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
  • Tonga of Taniwha Tubes
  • Puihi of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Maku of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Punga Racers
  • Tot Tiki Reef
  • Puka Uli Lagoon
  • Raki of Taniwha Tubes

Volcano Bay has a wide variety of dining options from snack to quick service eateries to dining reminiscent of a trip to the islands and with a My Universal Photos Package, you’ll capture every unforgettable moment in professional quality print and digital pictures.universal-orlando-volcano-bay Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-Want to experience the best in relaxation? With the Cabana package, you can do all of that and more. Relax, unwind and enjoy the charms of your own private cabana in paradise with extra-comfy seating, concierge service and more. Each retreat offers padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service, plus concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drinks delivered directly to the cabana. One-story and two-story retreats are located throughout the park. Volcano Bay is the perfect way to cap off your Universal Orlando Resort visit.

The Epicenter Of Awesome-Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Univeral CityWalk Orlando is a destination all unto itself and the best part is, it is totally FREE!  Whether you’re looking for world-class entertainment, such as The Blue Man Group or seeking the perfect dining experience, did someone say Voodoo Donuts, CityWalk has something for everyone.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

CityWalk is where it all comes together and is where unforgettable family fun meets restaurants that don’t just make you say “Yum,” but “Wow.” CityWalk is the one place where the dining tastes of every member of the family and entertainment everyone can enjoy all intersect. It’s everything you’re looking for and anything but ordinary.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Universal CityWalk is truly the Epicenter of Awesome. Another perk is that CityWalk offers free self-parking after 6:00 pm for all guests except for during Halloween Horror Nights.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

 

But What If You Only Have One Day?

[KGVID]http://www.disneygals.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Universal-Orlando-Universal-Studios-Florida-Islands-Of-Adventure-Universal-CityWalk-101.mov[/KGVID]

There may be those times where you only have one day to take in the magic of the silver screen and jump into the pages of a good book so can you do both Univeral Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventures in one day? The answer is “Yes” if you plan.  This is when you’ll want to make sure you have an Express Pass which will help you to maximize your time and a Park-To-Park ticket which gives you access to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure including both lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Your Park-To-Park ticket means you’ll be able to ride the Hogwarts Express which connects the two parks and allows you to go back and forth between the two.  Make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time from either Universal or TripAdvisor to save time and money and get your visit off to a great start. By purchasing tickets online, you’ll avoid waiting in line at the gates to purchase tickets and sometimes Universal offers special discounts online as well.

Don’t Leave Home Without The Universal App

Whether it’s your first visit to Universal Orlando, or you’re a seasoned pro, make sure to download the Universal Orlando app before you go to help you make the most of your day, as well as to help you plan your day once you there. With this easy to use app you can:

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

  • See the latest wait times for rides
  • Find showtimes and dining hours
  • Set alerts for when wait times are low and for show start times.
  • Locate restrooms
  • Access maps
  • Purchase and redeem select theme park tickets and Express passes

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

The app is free to download and is available on Google Play and in the App store.

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Is Like Stepping Into The Movie

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is everything you want it to be and so much more and it is just like you stepped foot into the movie itself.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Allow yourself plenty of time to explore both Diagon Alley as well as Hogsmeade because the attention to detail is nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. You’ll also want to go early or late in the day to avoid the inevitable crowds.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

You’ll absolutely want to stop by Ollivanders to pick out your very own wand and yes, splurge on the interactive Wand because there is nothing better than being able to cast your own wizarding magical spells throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and there’s no better way to bring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life. [KGVID]http://www.disneygals.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Universal-Orlando-Universal-Studios-Florida-Islands-Of-Adventure-Universal-CityWalk-099.mov[/KGVID]

Don’t miss seeing the Dragon breathe fire, make sure you try the Butter Beer and don’t miss one the unique dining experiences to fully immerse yourself into this mystical world.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

 

Again, one more reminder, if you’re planning on riding the train to Hogwarts Express, make sure you have a Park-To-Park ticket that will allow you to fully experience both Diagon Alley as well as Hogsmeade as well as both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

 

Know Before You Go

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Children Under Three Get In Free

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

There is no park admission fee for children under three years of age. You’ll find a number of unique kids’ play areas in each theme park, including If I Ran the Zoo, Me Ship the Olive, and Camp Jurassic in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, as well as Fievel’s Playland and Curious George Goes to Town at Universal Studios Florida.

Dress For The Weather

The weather in Florida changes often. Be sure to check Orlando’s forecast online before your trip. Even if it’s warm during the day, you might encounter an afternoon shower in the spring and summer, or evening chill in the fall and winter. Consider bringing an extra set of shoes for the kids, in case one pair gets wet on the water rides or in the fountains of the kids’ play areas.

Sunscreen

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

It doesn’t take long to get sunburned in the Sunshine State. Make sure to cover up or re-apply sunscreen throughout the day.

Hats And Sunglasses

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Another smart form of sun protection that will help keep you comfortable. Just don’t forget to remove them before hopping on the roller coasters.

Swimwear

From the stunning pools at our on-site resort hotels to the splashy water rides at our theme parks, there are plenty of ways to cool off here. Many park guests wear swimsuits under their clothes in case they get soaked.

Comfortable Shoes

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

You may choose to do a lot of walking around within the hotels and theme parks. You’ll want to make sure that you have sturdy shoes that offer support-we walked over 12 miles in one day doing both parks!

Backpacks And Shoulder Bags

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

A small, soft-sided bag is handy for toting your essentials while exploring the parks. Bags are inspected by security before you enter the theme parks, and you may have to check it in a rental locker before boarding certain thrill rides and roller coasters.

 

Acceptable items To Bring In:

  • Bottled water
  • Small snacks that do not require heating
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically indicated nutritional supplements
  • Any food required for special dietary needs
  • Baby food/baby formula
  • Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep

Stroll Around

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

Single or double strollers are available for rent upon entering Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure Strollers will not be available for rent at Universal’s Volcano Bay. You are permitted to bring your own stroller if you find it more convenient.

Sit Out, Then SwapUniversal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

If your children are too small or don’t want to go on a particular ride that you’d like to experience, take advantage of our “child swap” program. Each ride and attraction has a child swap area where one member of your party can wait with the little ones while the rest of your party rides. Once they are finished, switch places so whoever rode can stay with the kids, and the adult(s) who sat out can enjoy the ride.

With three incredible parks, world-class restaurants, riveting rides, and shows, there’s so much to see and do at Universal Orlando Resort, it is truly the ultimate summer vacation destination. Let TripAdvisor help you create the perfect trip.

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

With thousands of reviews, you can easily plan and book your stay all from the TripAdvisor website and then let your dream trip begin. Special thanks to TripAdvisor for helping me to check another item off my Bucket List. Now the only thing left is to decide what shall I check off the list next?  Whether it’s a quick surprise for the family, or you’re about to embark on that dream trip of a lifetime, make sure all of your planning starts and ends with TripAdvisor-it’s your one stop for all your planning needs.

TripAdvisor Ambassador

 
To find out more about other adventures available through the TripAdvisor “Things To Do” Section, be sure to check out my other reviews:
 
TripAdvisor Sonoma County
 
Orlando Balloon Rides @TripAdvisor
 
 
TripAdvisor San Francisco Helicopter
 
 
Sonoma Canopy Tours Northern CA Sonoma County Zipline
 
 
Sonoma-County-Wineries-Segway-Tour
 
 
Richard Petty Driving Experience Daytona International Speedway #TripAdvisor @TripAdvisor Richard Petty Driving Experience Daytona International Speedway #TripAdvisor @TripAdvisor

 

 

Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida Islands Of Adventure Universal CityWalk-

.

What are your favorite tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort and what is your best advice for the first-time visitor?

 

 

This post was created in partnership with TripAdvisor as part of my role as a  TripAdvisor ambassador, however, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.